When prepping for a hurricane, don’t forget your pets
It’s hurricane season and straightaway we are faced with a potential threat to our beautiful island home. By doing some advanced preparation for your pets though, you can be sure they remain safe and sound during the storm. Here are my top tips for being ready to weather the weather with your fur babies:
Food and meds
Definitely my first tip would be to stock up on food and prescription medications to last at least two weeks. You don’t know what condition the island will be in after a hurricane, and stores and pharmacies may not be open.
Keep them with you
Next, be sure to have your pet inside your home in the hours before the weather picks up. This is especially important for cats, who can get disorientated in bad weather and stay out. Keep your pets with you so you can reassure them if needed. Make sure you have litter trays (one for each cat plus one), cat litter and pee pads enough for all your pets. Do not let them out during a hurricane at all, not even in the quiet of the eye, as weather can change very quickly and is unpredictable.
Provide bottled water for drinking in case your tank water becomes contaminated with salt or leaf debris. You can also boil and cool your water before offering it to your pet to make sure it is safe.
Watch out for nerves
If your pet has a weather phobia this may become exaggerated during a storm. Speak with your vet about additional medication to help them through a hurricane. Do this well ahead of an approaching hurricane so as not to be caught out in a flash storm. Animals also like small spaces if they feel nervous. Giving them a blanket to sleep under can help to calm their nerves and make them feel more secure.
Remember your fish tank if the power goes out. The filters, lights and pumps will stop working and you may need back up power quickly to prevent losing your stock.
Keep a leash handy
Have a carry box ready for small animals and leash or harness for dogs in case of an emergency — such as a window blowing in or a broken door — to make sure they remain secured.
Playing music can help distract pets from the noise of the storm, but most importantly you must stay calm as they will read your body language and react to it.
Keep your vet contact handy
Be sure to have your vet’s emergency number on speed dial for assistance. Even if we can’t get to you, we can still provide information through our virtual vet platform during a storm.
Preparation is the key to a safe and successful hurricane season. Don’t leave preparations to the last minute and have a plan for you and your family, including your pets. Speak with your vet about hurricane prep at your next wellness check-up. Stay safe, Bermuda.
• Lucy Richardson graduated from Edinburgh University in 2005. She started CedarTree Vets in August 2012 with her husband, Mark. They live at the practice with their two children, Ray and Stella, and their dog, two cats and two guinea pigs. Dr Lucy is also the FEI national head veterinarian for Bermuda